Helpful Tips
Fresh is the key word for great coffee. Your coffee will be best when it is freshly roasted, freshly ground, and freshly brewed.

Keep it warm: warm coffee mugs with hot water while you wait for the brew. This ensures your coffee will stay hot longer.

Give it a quick stir after brewing, to maximize flavor and aroma.

Don't let brewed coffee sit on a burner, unplug appliances and if necessary - transfer from glass decanter into a thermal pot to keep warm. Excess heat continues to "cook" coffee and spoil a good brew.

Try adding a pinch of salt to a pot of coffee, especially when using distilled or softened water. The mineral adds lots of flavor!

Try natural sugar (i.e. turbinado or raw). They tend to lend a pleasant fruitiness to the flavor. Honey also lends fabulous flavor and stirs in easier.

Simple Syrup is a convenient way to sweeten coffee without stirring! Boil 1 cup of water, add 1 cup of sugar, brown sugar or natural sugar until dissolved. Remove from heat, cool and pour into a convenient bottle for your coffee. Refrigerate when not in use.

Flavored Creamers are fun to create. Start with warmed half and half, add sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, liquors or even artificial flavors etc. to your taste. Experiment!

Add flavor right into the pot: a teaspoon of vanilla and a sprinkle of cinnamon right into a pot of coffee. A natural breakfast delight! You can also try adding to the brew basket.

Nutty flavor can be interesting, try tossing a few roasted nuts (i.e. hazelnuts, almonds) in the grinder with coffee beans. This can produce naturally pleasing flavors.

Ice cubes of leftover brewed coffee are great in iced coffee drinks because they won't water them down. Pour leftover brews into ice cube trays, freeze, remove and keep handy in a zippered freezer bag.

Chocolate lovers enjoy a bite of chocolate followed by a sip of coffee - melts in your mouth! Place a square of chocolate on your coffee saucer. Some people like dipping chocolate in their coffee first.

New coffee drinkers if you are just acquiring a taste, adding milk or half and half helps neutralize strong flavors, as milk contains lactose (a sugar) and casein (a protein).

Caffeine cutting? Try making your own 50/50 blend. Place equal parts of your favorite regular and de-caff. coffees in a bowl. Hand toss and proceed to grind and brew.

Vanilla sugar can be expensive, but easy to make at home. Simply bury sliced vanilla beans in a jar of sugar for at least a week. Enjoy in your coffee rather than plain sugar.

Spice it up. Cinnamon sticks are commonly used in Italy for stirrers with coffee. Cardamom however is the spice of choice in Arabian states and is often used directly in the brewing process.

Around the world people enjoy coffee with differing twists. Africa and the Middle East add cardamom, Ethiopians add salt, Mexicans add cinnamon and Moroccans add peppercorns!

After dinner treat. Try your favorite de-caff. or regular coffee with rum, Tia Maria, or Kahlua. Fruit liqueurs also go well with coffee as does Scotch Irish whiskey or American bourbon.

Substitute ingredient for a new twist in ordinary recipes. Try replacing plain water with cooled, strongly brewed coffee! (i.e. cakes. We've even seen an award winning chili recipe suggest this.)

Cleaning coffee pots: for glass carafes, warm soapy water removes residual flavors. Some sticklers say soap taints the flavor of the next brew; they would recommend swirling ice cubes and water in the pot. Manufacturers recommend running vinegar water through the brewer periodically to remove minerals; this can taint the next couple of brews. Instead, try a "calcium, lime & rust (CLR)" type remover, follow directions on the bottle.

Coffee stains: when coffee spills on your shirt or couch, rule #1 is to not let it dry! Promptly dab with a clean cold, wet rag. Blot dry and repeat until stain is gone. If cream and sugar complicate the stain, try adding a couple drops of dish soap, dab, blot dry, repeat. If not removed, try in this order small amounts of: all fabric bleach, hydrogen peroxide, vinegar and lastly bleach solution where appropriate. Do not dry garment until you are sure the stain is gone, or it could be set in.

Used coffee grounds: save on your garbage bill, don't weigh down your trash with heavy, wet coffee grounds. Instead, the easiest thing to do is to keep a ice-cream pail (with lid) by your trash can. Dump used grounds, filter and all in the pail. Grounds can be used for several interesting things! 1. We simply dump grounds on our "worm farm" pile way out back, along with other organic scraps. Worms love coffee! They multiply like mad, and the fish like them better. It is said that coffee acts as a deodorizer on compost piles. Serious composters add a bit of ground lime to counteract the acid from coffee grounds, neutralizing the soil. They appreciate how coffee increases the nitrogen balance in their compost. 2. It is said coffee grounds repel insects, some people make a thick ring of wet grounds by ant hills and supposedly they will pack up and move out. Some people scatter dried grounds over their lawn and in their flower beds to discourage ants and other insects. Be sure to dry the grounds first: spread them first on newspaper to dry so they don't ferment or grow fungi. Over winter, grounds can be kept outside until spring thaw, then dried and ready for spreading. 3. For house plants, some people top off the soil in pots, which allows it to dry and compost better. Most tropic variety houseplants appreciate a boost of acid. 4. Try used grounds for a foot soak! Because skin is acidic, coffee is a treat for skin (the Japanese literally lay in tubs of coffee for a therapeutic spa treatment!) A couple cups of grounds strained in a gallon of hot water makes a great foot soak. Follow by rinsing, drying and applying lotion to feet. Some people even use grounds as a facial exfoliating agent, as well as a sort of mud pack. 5. Crafty mothers make a play dough for their kids: Mix 2 cups used, dry coffee grounds, ½ cup salt, 1 ½ cups of cornmeal, warm water (enough until moistened). This dough has a very unique texture. Its great for rolling, patting, and pounding, and making inverted "fossils" from objects pressed into it. 6. Used coffee grounds are marketed as "java logs" (fire logs someone invented), ceramic pottery items (one guy makes brown ceramic pigs from grounds!),soaps, etc.

Because of all these uses for spent coffee grounds, many coffeehouses save on their garbage bill while gardening customers gladly haul them away.

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